Monday, February 11, 2008

Selling the Gospel

"Selling the Gospel 2 Corinthians 11:6-7" - Even though I may be untrained as an orator, I am not so in the field of knowledge. We have made this clear to all of you in every possible way. Did I commit a sin when I humbled myself by proclaiming to you the gospel of God free of charge, so that you could be exalted?

Paul was very learned in the Scriptures, He had spent the majority of his life being trained in the OT, He most likely had the entire OT committed to memory. This He states is a good thing, and there seems to be a literal technique being practiced of comparing opposites to make a point. ( I don't know the real term for that) Notice, he says, I am not a trained speaker, but I am a trained theologian. I think that training in bible college and Seminary is very important. It helps one learn from other great theologians in a discipleship fashion. I mean just imagine being taught the ins and outs of the Gospel by the Apostle Paul. That would make you a great evangelist. Today we don't have Paul, but we do have someone like John Piper or Paul Washer. We Have men like John Macarthur who have great insight about the overall concepts and themes in scripture. We have Josh McDowell who can teach you all about the historical accuracies of the Bible and the evidence for it's truth. The difference between a layman and a studied preacher is a huge amount of knowledge. I mean the process of exegesis and accurate hermeneutics are things that take time and learning from a good teacher. Now, the next verse Paul talks about not selling the Gospel. This is something that I believe no true Christian could do. We have the message of God that He has died for our sins, and that we can receive forgiveness and everlasting life. Could you image a person selling this? Saying, " I will give you the path to eternal life, if you give me $20." This is inconceivable. A person working hard to counsel, teach, disciple, grow, guide, teach, lead and manage the Church Body, the offerings, and to organize the local body so that they can most effectively affect the community around them for Christ, is doing something far different then selling the Gospel.

Other relevant Scriptures to this topic -

I am free, am I not? I am an apostle, am I not? I have seen Jesus our Lord, haven't I? You are my work in the Lord, aren't you? If I am not an apostle to other people, surely I am one to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord! This is my defense to those who would examine me: We have the right to eat and drink, don't we? We have the right to take a believing wife with us like the other apostles, the Lord's brothers, and Cephas, don't we? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who would ever go to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its grapes? Or who takes care of a flock and does not drink any of its milk? I am not saying this on human authority, am I? The law says the same thing, doesn't it? For in the law of Moses it is written, "You must not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." God is not only concerned about oxen, is he? Isn't he really speaking on our behalf? Yes, this was written on our behalf, because the one who plows should plow in hope, and the one who threshes should thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? If others enjoy this right over you, don't we have a stronger claim? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with everything in order not to put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. You know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple and that those who serve at the altar get their share of its offerings, don't you? In the same way, the Lord has ordered that those who proclaim the gospel should make their living from the gospel.
(1 Corinthians 9:1-14)

Elders who handle their duties well should be considered worthy of double compensation, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain," and "A worker deserves his pay."
(1 Timothy 5:17-18)


Andy said...

I like your analysis here. I also appreciate learned men who are intentional about training up other men in right thinking and teaching. But what I most appreciate about some of the men you listed (Piper, McArthur, etc.) is that they have not abandoned their calling as pastors in order to train other pastors. We learn so much from them, often because we learn as they are in the midst of their ministry. This appears to be the general discipleship and training model we find in scripture.

Mike said...

It would seem to me that the philosophy of selling all manner of teaching to the Body of Christ has become common practise. If it come from the Lord what gives anyone the right to sell that which was freely given? I cannot reconcile the peddling of DVD & CD by so many organizations with scripture. Your comments please

Anonymous said...

This topic I have been battling for some time now. The church I fellowship at is very large and international. They have a radio station and all sorts of things. I love the messages that are preached but I just cant wrap my mind around the fact that they openly sell cds, books and dvds about the gospel. I would think that the tithes and offerings would be enough being that this church is so large. Doesnt God provide the means to live? I believe that anything that has to do with the gospel should be free. This isnt teachings geography or math or anything else but of eternal life... shouldn't this be a desperate atempt to lead people to salvation? This is live and death knowledge and I do not believe it should have a price tag on it.

Ken Cook said...

Mike and Anonymous --

I have several thoughts for you guys, to that end, I will be addressing this in a New Post.

Minister Marlene said...

The Gospel must not have a set price tag on it. This is the apostacy-putting a set price on the Gospel. When Jesus sent out the 12 deciples to minister..He told them not to take gold or silver, or coat or money because a workman is worthy of His wages. But Jesus also said that the disciples were to take what was given to them. Jesus did not tell them to charge $29.99 He told them (in the book of Matthew) to take what the people willingly gave.
When a "set price"is placed on the Gospel we are not free to give from the heart we are placed in bondage once again.
If our Lord Jesus was here with us in the flesh would he sell copies of the Sermon on the Mount? Would He sell crosses? Would he sell tickets to see a his Crucifixion re-enacted. Would Jesus put a price tag on what is holy or would he accept free-will donations, if offered to Him.
We are living in perilous times the organized Church is selling the Gospel for a "set Price" Woe unto them for they shall answer for it. The best and most important thing to do as this world ,(including the worldly church )is to study the Bible with earnestness and diligence. Remain with the King James Bible. The many other versions are only tools for trade and will line the pockets of self seeking shepherds who are not after God's heart.
There is absolutely no sincerity coming from those who put a price tag on Gospel materials.
Time is running out we must study for we need not anyone to teach us.